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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

Sourced from Southampton FC - Official Site article

Inside Track: Fulham

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What has the season been like for Fulham so far?

It's been an up and down season. Expectations were high in pre-season after the previous campaign and the season hasn't gone the way many expected. Fulham haven't really hit the heights they were at last year, and a period of six games without a win in October and November was a worrying sign. However, they're unbeaten in their last four games and are only four points off the play-offs, so things are looking up for the side.

How do you expect them to approach the FA Cup?

I think Slaviša Jokanović will take the FA Cup quite seriously. Last season they reached the fifth round before being knocked out by Tottenham, and they fielded fairly strong teams in all their games. I think the head coach will rotate and give players who haven't been playing regularly a chance, especially after the festive period, but Jokanović will want a good run in the cup this year too.

What sort of an approach/style of play can Southampton fans expect to see from Fulham?

Fulham like to get on the ball and try to dominate play, so expect the home side to look to have a lot of possession and patiently work their way into the Southampton box. Jokanović's side like to play out from the back too, so if Southampton can press them high up the pitch the home side might be in trouble.

Who have been the team’s top performers this season?

Kevin McDonald has been the side's best performer this season, he is a consistent performer in the Fulham midfielder and is one of the best in the Championship at playing the anchor role. Tom Cairney has also added another gear to the Fulham machine after coming back from injury, with most attacks coming through the Cottagers' metronome in the heart of midfield.

Is there anyone else you think will be key for them/who Southampton should watch out for this Saturday?

The obvious name is Ryan Sessegnon – watching someone with as much talent as the 17-year-old has week-in, week-out is a joy and he's been in fine form this season, although he may be rested having played 28 games this campaign. Striker Aboubakar Kamara, known as AK47 to the home fans, has also found a purple patch and has scored four goals in the past two games.

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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

Sourced from Sky Sports article

Ref Watch: Mike Dean criticism has been merciless, says Dermot Gallagher

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Dermot Gallagher is back to review the biggest decisions from over the New Year period, and says criticism of Mike Dean has been merciless.

Dermot fairly tackled the biggest calls taken by referees over the busy period, and defended Dean for what the Sky Sports News guest admitted was a mistake in handing West Brom a late penalty in their draw against Arsenal.

INCIDENT: Calum Chambers is penalised for a harsh handball decision in the penalty area in the closing stages of Arsenal's 1-1 draw at West Brom. Jay Rodriguez equalised from the spot, and then came some strong criticism from Arsene Wenger against Mike Dean.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: I actually think enough has been said about this, and the referee has suffered enough from what has been said in the newspapers. It's not a penalty, you know it isn't, I know it isn't, I think everyone knows this now, including the referee, so I'd rather just move on.

In defence of Mike Dean - and I say in his defence because I think he's been a bit battered in recent days, and a bit unmercifully I think if you look at that from Mike Dean's view, down the barrel, he thought Chambers' arm came up, and that's what he went on.

He makes his decision on what he sees. He saw that little movement, and that's what he reacted to. Unfortunately, he judged it wrong, but that's all it was, one mistake.

INCIDENT: Fernando Llorente puts Spurs 1-0 up at Swansea from Christian Eriksen's free-kick, but replays showed the Spaniard was in an offside position from the delivery. The linesman Marc Perry then apologised to Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal for the decision.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Why? Lack of concentration, that's all it can be. The ball is also dead [from the free-kick], he just hasn't reacted to it. Regarding the apology, I remember years ago when Paul Durkin apologised for not giving a penalty, and everybody thought it was brilliant, but the trouble with that is apologies are in short supply. I wonder what impact it really has.

INCIDENT: Spurs defender Davinson Sanchez, already on a booking, takes out Martin Olsson. Referee Bobby Madley decides against giving him a second yellow.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Only Bobby knows [why he hasn't given another yellow]. The ball is a giveaway for me, the ball is nowhere near the foul. For me, that's the perfect example to send someone off for a second yellow card. Madley called the captain in, Sanchez was then substituted, and the whole pattern tells you all you need to know about the story.

INCIDENT: Nicolas Otamendi brings down Roberto Pereyra late on in Man City's win over Watford with the score at 3-1. Referee Lee Mason waves play on.

DERMOT'S VERDICT: Otamendi doesn't get the ball. He plays the man, and it's got to be a penalty. The angle of the ball shows the Watford player plays the ball.

INCIDENT: Play is stopped for 11 minutes at Huish Park after a drone is spotted around the pitch. Why the delay?

DERMOT'S VERDICT: It's just a danger to the players and spectators, if it collapses and comes down from the air. It is just accepted that the players be removed from the pitch until the drone is removed.

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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

Ticket details for #SaintsFC's home #PL game with #LFC have been confirmed: http://sfcne.ws/LFCH110218

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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

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@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

#SaintsFC is saddened to hear of the passing of former defender Mike McCartney: http://sfcne.ws/TributeMMc

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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Eddie Howe watches Saints lose to Crystal Palace - but insists only 'huge money' would improve his squad

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BOURNEMOUTH manager Eddie Howe watched Saints' disastrous defeat to Crystal Palace last night - but insists only 'huge money' would improve his squad.

Saints took the lead against Palace thanks to a rare Shane Long goal, but eventually lost 1-2.

The defeat leaves Southampton FC above the relegation zone on goal difference alone, while Cherries currently sit one point above them in 15th position.

Cherries are free to do business following the opening of the January transfer window but Howe has warned finding players to better his team is “almost impossible”.

He was at St Mary's although Cherries don't take on Palace until April 7 and Saints until April 28.

And he admitted spending big on his relegation-battling side offered “no guarantees”, while reiterating his faith in his current crop.

Asked if he had money available for signings, Howe said: “That’s a difficult one to answer. I think the board would always be supportive of me if I felt we desperately needed something.

“The problem I’d have is looking at players we could afford, who would be available and would make the team better. It’s a difficult mix when you put the those things together. To find those players is almost impossible.

“Where are you going to find a player who is going to improve our squad? How much money are you going to have to pay another club to find a player who is better than our players? You are talking huge money.

“That’s the difficult position we find ourselves in.

“Spending money in this market is incredibly difficult. There are no guarantees. You could spend a huge sum and not help the team whatsoever.

“I believe we have a good enough squad to survive without bringing anyone in. The only thing we have to consider is whether injuries are long term.”

Dutch star Virgil van Dijk on Monday completed a reported £75million move to Liverpool from Southampton – the highest fee paid for a defender in history.

The hefty price tag raised eyebrows in some quarters, prompting debate over how long football’s transfer fees could continue to rise.

“I don’t have the answer to that one,” said Howe. “People have been talking about a ceiling for a while. It was said back in the 1970s when Trevor Francis went for £1m that it could not keep going beyond that point and now here we are.

“It’s incredibly difficult to imagine how much more they can keep going up but while television revenue is so big and the worldwide appeal of the game is so huge and continues to develop, fees will only go up.

“It is imbalanced with the television money and if that revenue to the clubs went down, that’s the only time I can see transfer fees going down.”

Asked if rising sums were a concern, Howe added: “It’s been a worry for me since we got into the Championship and started to pay transfer fees I never thought this club would pay.

“But you have to join the party otherwise you will be left at home and way out of it. We have had to get involved.”

Cherries’ club-record signing is Dutchman Nathan Ake, who joined from Chelsea for £20million in the summer following a spell on loan in Dorset last season.

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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 03/01/2018 19:21:08

This La Liga striker swoop would surely help keep Southampton firing all the way to survival | | Where football ... THETRANSFERTAVERN

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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

#FFC reporter @R_O_Donovan gives us the lowdown on #SaintsFC's #EmiratesFACup third-round opponents: http://sfcne.ws/ITFulhamFAC

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Optimus trousers posted this 03 January 2018

Sourced from Southampton FC - Official Site article

Mike McCartney: An Appreciation

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The left-back played at The Dell in the 1980/81 season, making 24 appearances and scoring once for the team.

The first of his appearances also coincided with the debut of Kevin Keegan, with McCartney part of the side that finished sixth in Division One under the guidance of manager Lawrie McMenemy.

A Scotland schoolboy international, who was born in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, McCartney had arrived at Saints after seven seasons with Carlisle United – a club he made 287 appearances for, across two spells.

McCartney, whose opportunities in the Southampton team became limited after Nick Holmes took possession of the number three shirt, had begun his career with West Bromwich Albion, ahead of his switch to Cumbria in 1973, where he established himself as a firm favourite.

Following his time on the south coast, he would move to Plymouth Argyle, before returning to Carlisle for his second spell with the club in 1983.

After an ankle injury forced him out of League football at the age of 33, McCartney moved back to Scotland, becoming player-manager at Gretna in 1988, who were then in England’s Northern League. 

He would lead them to back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992 and, in the latter of those seasons, helped them become the first Scottish club in 105 years to feature in the first round of the English FA Cup.

McCartney eventually left Gretna in 2000, working in the building trade and as a delivery driver in Carlisle.

Everyone at Southampton Football Club sends their condolences to Mike’s family and friends at this time.

Hagiology Publishing's All the Saints was used to help compile this piece.

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Sourced from The Telegraph article

Southampton chairman gives 'full backing' to Mauricio Pellegrino despite perilous proximity to drop zone

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Southampton have given new manager Mauricio Pellegrino their “full backing” despite their dangerous slide towards the relegation zone and remain determined to add two or three players this transfer window, including Theo Walcott.

Everton are also interested in Walcott but a potential loan or permanent deal has so far been delayed by Arsenal, with manager Arsene Wenger as yet undecided on whether he will allow his longest-serving player to leave this month.

Walcott just wants to play in a final attempt to force his way back into the England World Cup squad and is open-minded about a move if his first-team chances at Arsenal will be limited. Wenger, though, has his own concerns this month over other attacking players, notably Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud, and is expected to wait several weeks before making a decision.

Southampton’s home defeat against Crystal Palace has left them just a point above the relegation zone following the £75 million sale of Virgil van Dijk and a dreadful sequence of just one win in 13 games. The final incoming fee from Van Dijk will be around £60 million due to a large sell-on clause to Celtic but that money is being made available to reinvest, even if it is likely to be spread over several transfer windows.

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